February 21, 2020
Héctor Casanova Illustrates Dedication to Public Art
In the historic Blue Hills neighborhood of Kansas City, the shuttered Pershing elementary school was an eyesore for residents and a target for vandals and taggers. Associate Professor of Illustration Héctor Casanova and his students recently installed brightly-colored murals on the outside of the brick building to showcase the history of the neighborhood. Now it’s a place of pride for the community.
The project, one of three Kansas City School District beautification efforts, is part of a required course for junior Illustration majors called US: Collaboration. Developed by Casanova when he started teaching at KCAI seven years ago, it exposes students to the inherently collaborative nature of Illustration, gives them experience working as a team with fellow students and clients, and demonstrates the powerful effect of public art.
“Artists make work that has an effect on the public – negative or positive. I want students to understand and embrace the power and responsibility that comes with the ability to reach thousands or millions of people. I tell my students to refine their skills so they can make compelling work that captures people’s attention,” said Casanova.
Casanova’s ongoing commitment to public art in Kansas City has led to a recent appointment to the Municipal Arts Commission (MAC). In this role, he’ll review all public art projects and work with the new airport design team to determine the type of art that will be installed throughout the airport.
“I believe that art, in general, works best when it’s available to everyone and they don’t have to go out of their way to encounter it. I’m honored to be in an art-centric city that proactively manages public art and makes it accessible to all residents,” said Casanova.
In addition to his MAC and KCAI teaching responsibilities, Casanova is a visiting artist at Northeast Middle School, located near KCAI’s first mural project at Scarritt Elementary School. Over the years, taggers have destroyed some of the murals and the middle school students are designing new ones. He hopes that by engaging middle-schoolers in this project, it will decrease tagging because they will take pride in the work they’ve created.
These days Casanova doesn’t have a lot of time for his art practice, which includes projects like the KCMO Grove Park mural. But, he says he doesn’t mind. “When I started teaching, I realized that with an army of students I can do much more that I can with my own two hands.”
That’s exactly what he’s doing: working with an army of students, artists and community members to make Kansas City a more colorful place to live.
Here we go again! This isn’t the way that we hoped to start the new year, but the highly contagious Omicron is bringing new challenges to our campus community. With precautions in place, we’re starting the semester cautiously optimistic. Our COVID protocols have been designed with one goal in mind – keeping our campus community safe. Some of the spring 2022 guidelines include: Masks are required indoors on campus. Each student was given a K95 mask at the beginning of the semester. KCAI strongly encourages everyone to get vaccinated and boosted. We will continue to offer free vaccine and booster clinics for our community. Review all the current Covid protocols at https://kcai.edu/covid19_updates/. Our current plan is to host two in-person graduation — one for 2022 graduates and another for the 2020 and 2021 graduates who weren’t able to graduate in person, due to the pandemic. Both ceremonies will be on Saturday, May 14 and more details will be shared soon. We know this hasn’t been easy, and we thank you for your diligence and patience. With your help, we’ve been able to navigate this ongoing , ever changing pandemic. We’ll continue to meet regularly with the Kansas City. Missouri Health read more…
Art & Design Auction June 4, 2022 Visit the Event Page Fabulous art, festive food & drink, inspired entertainment, and the iconic KCAI campus will set the stage for the Art & Design Auction on June 4, 2022. Julia Irene Kaufman will serve as Honorary Chair while Meyer and Mindy Sosland are Co-Chairs of this signature fundraising event. Attendees will browse and bid on hundreds of live and silent auction items donated by faculty, alumni, and friends of KCAI. Through an exciting collaboration with A. Zahner, 15 student designs will be selected through a competition to have their concept turned into reality and auctioned that night. ADA also features a “Marketplace” shop featuring handcrafted jewelry, art, textiles, and ceramics available for purchase. And it’s all for a good cause! “We are honored to serve as this year’s Art & Design Auction event chairs for this biennial tradition, which raises funds for student scholarships. The incredible work generously donated by KCAI alumni, faculty, staff, and friends represents some of the best artists in Kansas City. Along with Honorary Chair Julia Irene Kauffman, we can’t wait to welcome you to the KCAI campus for this special evening,” said Meyer and Mindy Sosland, read more…
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